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Monday, January 30, 2017

The Poetry Show Podcast featuring Dame Carol Ann Duffy

Broadcast from EPIC Radio, Jan 30, 2017 from Shepherdstown, WV. The Poetry show airs 7:30 9:00 AM, Mondays.

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Dame Carol Ann Duffy, poet laureate of the United Kingdom

Current poet laureate of the United Kingdom, Dame Carol Ann Duffy was born on December 23, 1955 in Glasgow, Scotland, the oldest of five children. The family moved to Stafford in the West Midlands of England when Duffy was six years old. When she was 16 years old, she met the poet and painter Adrian Henri, with whom she subsequently formed a more than decade long relationship. She attended the University of Liverpool, earning a degree in philosophy. At the time of her graduation in 1977, she has already published two poetry collections; however, she gained greater recognition when she won the National Poetry Competition in 1983. Her poetry collections for adults include Standing Female Nude (Anvil Poetry Press, 1985), Selling Manhattan (Anvil Poetry Press, 1987), The Other Country (Anvil Poetry Press, 1990), and The World's Wife (Anvil Poetry Press, 1999). Picador has recently brought out her Collected Poems (Picador, 1995), which includes these collections and four subsequent ones. She has also written seven collections of poetry for children, four plays, and edited numerous anthologies. Her work is enormously popular in the United Kingdom, and it has been reported that teenagers entering British universities to study English chose her poetry as second only to Shakespeare's. Appointed as poet laureate in 2009, she has set up new prizes, promoted festivals, and in general worked to increase the audience for and recognition of poetry and poets. For further information, she her website,

Although it is a couple of weeks early, this week's featured poem is "Valentine," from Mean Time (Anvil Poetry Press, 1993), reprinted in her Collected Poems (Picador, 2015). This poem is an unconventional look at a gift for Valentine's Day, humorous, but with a bite.


Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

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